modest and meek

Virtues and views: the virtue today is humility. I am using modest and meek, both synonyms, for humility. Humility is the virtue to oppose pride. I used hope for the letter h, so in this blogging from A to Z, I look for synonyms. Wordplay gives me joy.

Humility is not one of the four cardinal virtues valued by the Romans, nor one of the three theological virtues. Do you value being humble, being modest or meek? Most of the examples in our culture that I think of right now are people recommending that other people be modest or meek. Men ordering women to obey and Caucasians saying that other races should be patient, meek, quiet, wait….. And yet we are told to be proud of our country, of our flag, of being number one. I think we need to learn humility again…. and I am afraid that in our pride we will learn it the hard way.

In the last week three people in clinic gave me compliments. But two others were not satisfied, did not get what they wanted, and yelled at me. My head won’t swell with pride, because I hear both praise and criticism. All I can do is the best I can, no better….I don’t want to be the best doctor: I want excellence for all of our providers, doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants. Excellence in nurses, in hospital staff, in diabetic education, in cardiac and pulmonary rehab, in physical therapy, in hospital maintenance staff, in cleaning and housekeeping, in reception and scheduling. Excellence as a team. Let the whole world be the best and rise humbly to excellence….not one race or gender or religion….

And then I hope we see other worlds and beings and they do the same….

A meek and modest vision for humanity.

I took the photograph in 2014: sometimes the sky is neither meek nor modest, but glorious.



Two of the 7 heavenly virtues to match the sins start with c: chastity and charity, so the feeling of love here stands for charity.

Charity is on both virtue lists: the earlier list of faith hope and charity and the later list of seven heavenly virtues to match the sins. But that list is from  Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, a Christian governor who died around 410 A.D, so it’s not exactly recent. And that was in an epic poem entitled Psychomachia, or Battle/Contest of the Soul.

Which sin is the opposite of charity? Greed. I wrote about greed last year, under A is for Avarice. And yet I don’t think of the opposite of greed as love. Perhaps if we did think that we would be more generous. Right now it seems more that we revere the rich and also enjoy their downfall: addiction and scandal. Even with news covered with scandal and glorifying greed, I think there are still many people who are generous, who quietly practice love and charity. Let us celebrate them today and send them love in return.

Webster 1913:

Char”i*ty (?), n.; pl. Charities (#). F. charit’e fr. L. caritas dearness, high regard, love, from carus dear, costly, loved; asin to Skr. kam to wish, love, cf. Ir. cara a friend, W. caru to love. Cf. Caress.

1. Love; universal benevolence; good will.

Now abideth faith, hope, charity, three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1. Cor. xiii. 13.

They, at least, are little to be envied, in whose hearts the great charities . . . lie dead. Ruskin.

With malice towards none, with charity for all. Lincoln.

2. Liberality in judging of men and their actions; a disposition which inclines men to put the best construction on the words and actions of others.

The highest exercise of charity is charity towards the uncharitable. Buckminster.

3. Liberality to the poor and the suffering, to benevolent institutions, or to worthy causes; generosity.

The heathen poet, in commending the charity of Dido to the Trojans, spake like a Christian. Dryden.

4. Whatever is bestowed gratuitously on the needy or suffering for their relief; alms; any act of kindness.

She did ill then to refuse her a charity. L’Estrange.

5. A charitable institution, or a gift to create and support such an institution; as, Lady Margaret’s charity.

6. pl. Law Eleemosynary appointments grants or devises including relief of the poor or friendless, education, religious culture, and public institutions.

The charities that soothe, and heal, and bless, Are scattered at the feet of man like flowers. Wordsworth.

Sisters of Charity R. C. Ch., a sisterhood of religious women engaged in works of mercy, esp. in nursing the sick; — a popular designation. There are various orders of the Sisters of Charity.

Syn. — Love; benevolence; good will; affection; tenderness; beneficence; liberality; almsgiving.


I took the photograph at Lake Matinenda, in Ontario, Canada in 2012. A place that I love….

Blogging from A to Z Challenge: the letter L